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People take part in a protest of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Santa Clara, Cuba People take part in a protest of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Santa Clara, Cuba, April 25, 2021 (AP photo by Ismael Francisco).

Cubans Are Still Waiting for Something New From Biden

Thursday, May 6, 2021

During his campaign for the presidency last year, Joe Biden pledged to reverse what he called “the failed Trump policies” toward Cuba. But now, Biden’s White House is signaling that it is in no hurry to lift the severe sanctions and other measures imposed on Cuba by former President Donald Trump, much less return to the historic detente with Cuba that was pioneered by Biden’s old boss, former President Barack Obama.

As the Biden administration bides its time, Cuba’s aging leaders have passed the baton to a new generation. At the Communist Party’s eighth congress last month, Raul Castro stepped down as party chief, marking a transition of power to a new generation of leaders born after the 1959 revolution. But that new generation was careful to telegraph that it does not plan to change Cuba’s political system or alter the government’s heavy-handed approach to dissent.

This week on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Michael Bustamante, an assistant professor of Latin American History at Florida International University, to discuss the outlook for U.S.-Cuba ties and what the Biden administration’s cautious approach might mean for the island. Bustamante’s latest book, just published in March, is “Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile.” Click here to read a partial transcript of the interview.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
A Simple Reset Won’t Make U.S.-Cuba Ties More Sustainable
Cuba’s Post-Castro Leaders Must Deliver the Goods
Cuba’s Economic Crisis Is Spurring Much-Needed Action on Reforms
How Biden Would Change U.S. Policy in Latin America

Trend Lines is edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com.